I blogged yesterday on the public’s support for out-of-work benefit reforms. Bizarrely enough the same survey included a question on Disability Living Allowance (DLA), even though DLA isn’t an out-of-work benefit.
Leaving this point and what it represents to one side (aside from one implication, which I’ll highlight below), the results were as follows:
- 69% of people support more stringent testing for people receiving Disability Living Allowance
- Broken down by voting intention, 86% of Tories support more stringent testing, and 70% of Lib Dems. The figure is 58% for Labour voters
- Some 76% of social grade ABC1s support it, and 58% of C2DEs
- Taking the opposite view, 20% of people oppose the introduction of more stringent testing for people receiving DLA
- Broken down by voting intention, some 6% of Tories oppose more stringent testing, 22% of Lib Dems and 32% of Labour supporters
- Around 14% of ABC1s oppose more stringent testing and 27% of C2DEs oppose it.
Once again, the similarity between Tory and Lib Dem views on the case for more stringent testing is interesting, though the Tories are alone in their opposition to more stringent testing – just 6% of them oppose it.
Now – and here’s the implication I alluded to earlier – it could be the case that people are confusing Disability Living Allowance as an out-of-work benefit. It isn’t (more here). If people knew what DLA was actually for, I would hope they wouldn’t hold the same views as they apparently do above.
But taking the findings at face value, nearly 7 in 10 people support stricter testing, which is more than enough for the government’s proposals on DLA to pass relatively smoothly through the machinery of government.
If this is the case, then this should be of significant concern to people who support disability equality, and should be taken into account in the campaigning or influencing approach taken to opposing the effective cuts, or attempts to minimise their damaging effects.
One thought on “Public’s opinion on #DLA reforms”
Here’s my general thought – from a lay perspective. I think the government and media have been having an all out war on benefit claimants paying no attention whatsoever to the differences between the benefits. I expect there is a massive confusion between DLA as a non-means tested benefit which is not related to work status and the government political agenda of promoting the idea that most people on ‘benefits’ are scroungers.
My own solution would be for GPs/consultants to be able to verify DLA and ESA claims without the need of a third party organisation like ATOS – it introduces an additional cost and bureaucratic layer and it seems blindingly obvious that the medical professionals that know an individual best can determine what they need.
The DLA form is a nightmare and it is heavily weighted to physical disabilities (as opposed to mental illnesses) but either way, trusting professionals seems to have been lost.
For this reason I absolutely don’t think there should be more STRINGENT testing but rather different and more individualised ways of testing by, you know, relying on people who actually know rather than people employed by agencies and making profits from how many people they are able to turn down.
It’s obvious to me that ATOS is discredited. It is making me increasingly angry.
Public perception reflects the media and the general villification of people who are not working. I expect more broader understanding as the job cuts flow across the social classes and it doesn’t make me satisfied to say that.